Inside UCR
News for Faculty and Staff of the University of California, Riverside | Volume 5, Number 20 | December 9, 2009

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Features & News

Budget Myths, Facts Addressed at Senate Meeting
Chancellor White asks faculty to write to the governor expressing their concern over the future of the university.
The campus’ Dec. 1 Academic Senate meeting was dominated by discussion of budget issues facing UCR. Chancellor Timothy P. White told the more than 120 who attended that he and the Senate share the goal of assuring the excellence of the University of California, adding that “it is important to have the facts in front of us, for decisions to be public with the rationale for them explained.”
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Student Protest Sophisticated, Respectful
Teach-in, study-in held in conjunction with regents’ decision to raise fees by 32 percent.
The campus community responded with teach-ins and protests to a UC regents meeting last month that included action to increase student fees. During a teach-in at the HUB that was sponsored by UCR Labor Studies and other groups, Associate Professor Karthick Ramakrishnan explained California’s “boom and bust” economy and the shrinking state support for education.
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Jodie Holt worked closely with the filmmakers for the soon-to-be-released movie “Avatar.
Hollywood Grows on Botany and Plant Scientist Holt
James Cameron’s “Avatar,” which opens worldwide Dec. 18, is being touted as a movie that takes viewers “to a spectacular world beyond imagination.” To achieve that promise the film pays close attention to details in creating a futuristic alien world. Light-years away from Earth in Cameron’s Avatar-world is the lush moon Pandora, whose atmosphere, though toxic to humans, supports vegetation. To depict the vegetation accurately, the filmmakers consulted Jodie Holt, chair of the Department of Botany and Plant Sciences. Holt served as a consultant and expert on Pandora’s vegetation and provided textual details for the game products that the film will launch. She also gave pointers to actress Sigourney Weaver, who plays a botanist in the film.
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Susan R. Wessler
National Academy Member Joins Faculty
Susan R. Wessler, a world-renowned expert in transposable elements, a crucial facet of genetics, has accepted an appointment as a distinguished professor of genetics in the Department of Botany and Plant Sciences. She will arrive on campus in September 2010. Wessler was elected in 1998 to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), the most prestigious scientific organization in the United States, as a result of her research that “provided the most comprehensive picture of the interaction between transposable elements and plant genes,” according to the NAS citation.
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Regents Give UCR More Control Over Construction
A recent vote of the UC Board of Regents allows UCR’s chancellor to approve campus construction projects at values less than $60 million. “It is an endorsement by the regents that we have the vision for the development of the campus, a 10-year capital financial plan, and the tools and protocols to direct the capital and design process at the campus,” said Don Caskey, campus architect. “The program to delegate this control to the campuses is a ‘pilot’ and the Office of the President reserves the right to audit the results over time to ascertain whether we followed the process and vision that we articulated to the regents.”
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Students and faculty members team up for EUMAINE/PINC
Collaborative Program Links UCR/ Belgium
The Department of Nematology has set up formal collaborative links with the academic network of the European Master of Science in Nematology / Postgraduate International Nematology Course (EUMAINE/PINC) as coordinated by Ghent University, Belgium. A number of faculty members and researchers in the department have successfully applied for a EUMAINE scholarship and visited Ghent University to present seminars, give lectures on various specialized subjects, discuss ongoing or future research collaborations, and interact with the EUMAINE/PINC students socially as well as academically.
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Fulbright Scholars in the Department of Music are (l-r, top to bottom) Chia-Lin “Cathy” Kuo, Nerfita Primadewi,  and Roberto Kolb-Neuhaus.
Fulbright Scholars Bring a World of Music to UCR
Three Fulbright Scholars have joined the Department of Music this fall, one as a postdoctoral scholar and two who are enrolled in the Ph.D. program. It is the first time so many Fulbright Scholars have been associated with the department at the same time, said Deborah Wong, professor and department chair. The three are: Roberto Kolb-Neuhaus, a professor of musicology and performance in the Graduate Program in Music of the National University of Mexico; Nerfita “Popi” Primadewi, a Ph.D. student from Indonesia who is studying ethnomusicology; and Chia-Lin “Cathy” Kuo, a Ph.D. student from Taiwan who is studying music composition.
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